Published  05/02/2008

Bottom line in culture

The latest fad exciting national UK enthusiasts up and along Downing Street is a proposal for a £100 million National Museum of British History. Guess who is running this idea? Our personable former Minister of Education Kenneth Baker, now Lord Baker of Dorking. This would be one in the eye for the recently expanded Royal Museum of Scotland (where indeed would the scattered Lewis chessmen now end up?) This new monument to learning would surely contain a regurgitation of the very late historian Arthur Bryant’s school boys’ ‘ripping yarn’.‘Our Island Story’ is an opportunity sadly missed sadly by the creators of Monty Python. The new museum would itself project ‘British values’, assumed to be the wished for template shaping the future consumer culture. Who now will write the narrative for this extravaganza? As one press commentator was rash enough to point out, at least we now know (it leaked out) there is a pot of some £100 million ‘at the end of the rainbow’ (for which read Downing Street) still available for ‘niche’ spending projects to boost our national heritage.

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